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Tom Violet always thought that by the time he turned thirty-five, he’d have everything going for him. Fame. Fortune. A beautiful wife. A satisfying career as a successful novelist. A happy dog to greet him at the end of the day.

The reality, though, is far different. He’s got a wife, but their problems are bigger than he can even imagine. And he’s written a novel, but the manuscript he’s slaved over for years is currently hidden in his desk drawer while his father, an actual famous writer, just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His career, such that it is, involves mind-numbing corporate buzzwords, his pretentious archnemesis Gregory, and a hopeless, completely inappropriate crush on his favorite coworker. Oh . . . and his dog, according to the vet, is suffering from acute anxiety.

Tom’s life is crushing his soul, but he’s decided to do something about it. (Really.) Domestic Violets is the brilliant and beguiling story of a man finally taking control of his own happiness—even if it means making a complete idiot of himself along the way.

Published: HarperCollins on Aug 9, 2011
ISBN: 9780062065124
List price: $11.14
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This is a truly insightful book. The title translates as "soul friend," and Donohue talks in-depth about ancient Celtic wisdom and spirituality. If you have interest in any spirituality at all, not just shamanism, I really recommend this book.read more
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Here's the thing with O'Donohue. He writes mystically and poetically. I'd rather hear him speak than read his words. Actually, reading it on Kindle is a weird, weird trip. I think this is one of those books that you have to have in print, in hand, with a cup of coffee or a pint of porter at hand, sitting on the deck overlooking a natural scene.

I LOVE the guy, I just find that it's hard to read this particular book in the form that I have it.read more
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I rarely read spiritual books, but I'm glad I read this one. O'Donohue writes lyrical prose, telling us to have compassion, to find our soul friends, to sink into the bliss of solitude, and to find our way to the other side. This from a man who has done scholarly work on Hagel. I recommend this book to anyone seeking peace and calm in the turbulence of life.read more
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This is a book that touched me deeply. To put it very simply, it is a book about friendship. That "soul friend" that each of us long for and yet so few of us are fortunate to claim. This is a story of humanity and yearning. It is a story of love and loss and spirituality. O'Donohue writes in a poetic and compassionate way about life.read more
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(From my review on Amazon in 1998.)Each sentence is a ponderable morsel.Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom is truly a work of art. Over the past three years, I have been working on discovering myself through self-help books, 12-step programs, religious study, and personal introspection. This book summed up everything I have learned (the hard way) during this time, and presented it in a beautiful package that was invigorating and thought-provoking to read. It was a pure joy. I began reading it in January, and have only just finished it last night, because each sentance was a ponderable morsel. Sometimes I would read a phrase five times over in order to fully grasp and apply it's meaning to my life. This is not a 70 mph trip through the McDonald's drive-thru, this is a seven course meal in Vienna, and every bite demands that you hold it in your mouth to savor it.Anam Cara is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. I plan to read it again in a year or so, because I know I will get new things out of it. I am already loaning it to a friend, and have a couple of others in mind I'd like to loan it to. I can't keep this from the ones I love.read more
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I keep picking this book up and reading a chapter and putting it away for a while so that my mind can understand the chapter. A regular re-read.read more
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Another smart, witty comedy by a male author – I am on a roll this year and loving it. I fully admit to being one of those readers who is lured by pretty, magical covers and I dodged around this book numerous times in the bookstore because it just didn’t grab me – but then I started seeing reviews.. and those reviews spoke really, really well of this book.So … I gave it a shot.I am so glad I did. Once again, I am reminded never to judge a book by its cover. This story had me in tears, it had me groaning with pity, it had me just completely entertained for hours and hours. I savored the story, enjoying how well-crafted it was and I felt like I was reading a book that didn’t pull its punches. When I finally read the final page I felt as if I was saying goodbye to friends, and that, folks, is story-telling. I connected with these characters and I wanted more.I’ll definitely be looking for more stories from Mr. Norman – which I hope is soon, because I do not necessarily want to be reading his book on developing web applications!Check this one out if you enjoy smart contemporary stories.read more
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I requested and received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the book (I didn’t make it through the first chapter, actually) so can only comment here on why it wasn’t the right book for me. The opening scene is, I think, designed to shock as the reader is welcomed into the bedroom of a couple trying to conceive and given a fairly explicit account of their … ummm … activities. In a previous life, I’d have found it funny rather than shocking and perhaps that was the author’s intent. We got off on the wrong foot, however, and as I progressed through the chapter I didn’t find myself feeling any more comfortable so I decided to stop as my thoughts were stuck on ‘Why am I reading this?’ ’I don’t read books like this.’ ’I don’t read chick lit.’And that’s the bottom line. When I read the descriptions of this book, I zeroed in on it being about a writer having a bit of a mid-life crisis when his father wins the Pullitzer. What I got was the opening of what may be a very good chick lit book. And I don’t read chick lit.read more
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Book Review - Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman Mathew Norman Domestic Violets Format: e-book Edition (Kindle) File Size: 652 KB Print Length: 352 pages Publisher: Harper Perennial Publication Date: August 9, 2011 ASIN: B004NNUX66Tom Violet’s life train is headed for a disastrous and inevitable derailment and he isn’t even aware of it yet. His job is in jeopardy, his wife is unhappy and worse, and he’s a consummate crack-up who can’t hold his tongue. Add an entire suitcase full of daddy issues and you have an entirely engaging and entertaining work of fiction. But Tom is one of those fortunate people who find that sometimes when life calls for changes you roll with the punches and change. Certain reviews of Domestic Violets have categorized this book as chick-lit but it is far from that. As a matter of fact it isn’t for or about love at all. Pure and simple it is satire of the highest degree. Life, relationships, boring jobs, publishing, sex, drugs, etc. nothing is safe from the critical eye of Matthew Norman.However, the real reason this story works so well is the amount of clever and witty humor that first appeared on page one and never ended. At times, Norman had me in stitches. At others he had me in tears. And do you know why? Because he understands the human condition and while giving the readers a sense of the absurd he also hit the nail on the head more often than not. He told us in simple terms what people think, and feel, and say when their relationships are in trouble and in an odd way he also told us what they say and think and feel when they need to repair a failing relationship. This is a story to savor. It is well- crafted, funny, down-to-earth, flows quickly, and has that “it” quality I look for in every book; that page turning what-the-heck happens-next-oh-crap-this-is-totally-entertaining-and-wow-am-I-enjoying-myself-quality that you don’t often find in fiction these days.Anyone reading my reviews for very long would see that this is obviously not my normal bill-of-faire but on the advice of a friend (thanks Lisa) I gave it a try and found myself enjoying every page of this finely crafted novel. Do yourself a favor. Pick up Domestic Violets today. Give it a read and see if you don’t agree.4 ½ stars out of 5The Alternative Southeast Wisconsinread more
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One of the characters in Domestic Violets remarks that most first novels are autobiographical. Whether or not they’re autobiographical, it seems to me that a lot of first novels tend to be reminiscent of other people’s novels. That’s not meant to say that they can be derivative; it’s more likely due to the fact that a new author doesn’t have an established record yet, so he or she really can’t be easily evaluated against his own catalog. This can work either for or against them, depending on the connections a reader makes between the new author’s work and other fiction that seems similar--and with Domestic Violets, just about all of my associations were favorable.I think it’s an interesting comment on how quickly we process current events in the 21st century that Domestic Violets was published in the early autumn of 2011, and its events very specifically take place in the early autumn of 2008. The presidential election and the spread of the Great Recession both influence what’s happening to Tom Violet. Having said that, Domestic Violets isn’t about either of those events; as its rather punny title implies, this novel is firmly located in the domestic-fiction sphere. Its concerns--marital strains, friction between parents and adult children, career dissatisfaction--are everyday and entirely relatable, although in most everyday lives they’re not as funny.The humor runs high in Domestic Violets, as narrator/protagonist Tom Violet relies on it as a coping mechanism for the chaos of his life. He’s just worked up the nerve to show people the novel he’s been working on secretly for five years, while his world-famous novelist father has finally won the Pulitzer Prize--and moved into his spare bedroom, He and his wife Anna are in what’s best described as a “rough patch,” and his attraction to his young coworker isn’t helping smooth that out. The attractive coworker, and the amusement of an ongoing feud with a MUCH less attractive coworker, may be his primary reasons for going to the office each day, because the work holds almost no attraction at all. Things are pretty clearly on the verge of falling apart...and they do, quite entertainingly. Seeing how Tom picks up the pieces is quite entertaining as well.As I mentioned earlier, Domestic Violets reminded me of several other novels and novelists--all favorably. Matthew Norman’s style is his own, but his approach to some aspects of the novel reminded me of Jonathan Tropper and Greg Olear, while some of the work-oriented sections brought to mind Joshua Ferris’ Then We Came to the End. But Norman’s depictions of the domestic misadventures of literary people, particularly in the later portions of the novel, most made me think of Michael Chabon’s second novel, Wonder Boys. Chabon’s one of my very favorite authors, and Wonder Boys is my favorite of his books, so my connecting Domestic Violets with it is a very good thing for Matthew Norman and the future of our reading relationship.read more
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I don't typically read stories with men as the main character, so this was new for me. It's not that I try to stay away from them, it's just most books I tend to read are narrated in a girl's tone.The book starts out with Tom Violet complaining about his flaccid penis. I've got to admit, this was a first for me. But surprisingly, as strange as it sounds, it drew me in. I wanted to know what was going to happen to this man.There were parts of the story the were a little predictable to me. Like some aspects of his father's life, among other things. But those didn't stop me from loving the book.There were also few parts where I absolutely could NOT put this book down. I felt my heart speed up and my stomach drop as something HUGE was about to take place. That, to me, is definitely the mark of a good book.I really felt like I connected with Tom, especially regarding his job. Being someone who doesn't love their job it was quite easy to relate. I loved Tom's sarcastic whit, it reminded me a lot of my own husband in a way.I felt invested in each of the relationships in the book. I cared what was going to happen to them and worried everything would fall apart.I'm so glad I read this book.read more
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I found this book to be enjoyable and quite refreshing. I would have found a similar novel from the point of view of the wife to be tired and done to death. But from Tom's view, it had humor as well as poignancy. I didn't find the book as humorous as some because Tom seemed depressed to me, though hiding it behind his jokes.I think many will be able to relate to Tom's boring job at what he refers to as the "Death Star" and the highlights of his day include annoying his uptight colleague who takes work too seriously, and his snack runs with his cute and much younger underling, Katie. So far, Katie is the only one to read Tom's novel and she loves it.But now Tom is feeling overshadowed by his very successful and Pulitzer-Prize winning author father, Curtis Violet. Also, his wife wants to have another baby and his erectile dysfunction is not helping matters.This was a really good novel, with some great characters and great writing. I highly recommend it!my rating 4.5/5read more
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It can't be easy living in the shadow of a famous author parent, especially when deep down, you want nothing so much as to write too. Thirty-five year old Tom Violet has been writing a novel for years, a little afraid his work won't be as good as his father's. After all, Curtis Violet has won all the major literary prizes and has now finally won the Pulitzer for fiction. But Tom has more than just his fears about writing inadequacies to worry about. The novel opens with him in the bathroom bemoaning his flaccid penis while his wife patiently waits for him in their bed, his erectile dysfunction merely a symptom of a larger problem in their marriage. He loathes his work as a copywriter stuck in a soul-sucking corporate job in the midst of the financial meltdown. If Tom had ever grown-up, he might be having a midlife crisis, as it is, and despite his actual age, he's just coming of age into the messiness of life and wondering how he got to where he is now. As Tom wrestles with the place in which he finds himself, he endears himself, in all his self-deprecating glory, to the reader. He is a bit of a jerk, needling a co-worker he hates at every opportunity and fantasizing about a young and beautiful colleague, but at heart, he is a good guy, wanting everything to come out right for others, even if he's a little afraid of that kind of success and happiness for himself. The secondary characters, his father Curtis, wife Anna, step-father Gary, daughter Allie, are all wonderful, quirky, and eminently human. Tom's overwhelming anxiety, stress, and dissatisfaction with his life are very relatable for readers and his response to the setbacks he faces are perhaps the things we all wish we could do or say at one time or another. There's a magnificent dry humor at work throughout the novel and Norman has written an entertaining send-up of authors and the literary world through the person of Curtis Violet. As the title suggests, this is a domestic-centered novel and it succeeds in all the ways that it does without the pyrotechnics of Hollywood. Refreshing, humorous, and appealing, Domestic Violets is a book that shows us our present, sends us up, and delivers the good feeling that is so hard to pull off without being too treacle. A quick and entertaining read, you'll leave its pages wishing you could meet the slightly bumbling, slightly snarky Tom Violet yourself.read more
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While this was mostly fun, there were a lot of elements to this book that I found irritating. Probably foremost was that I didn't believe in the main characters as English Literature majors, but I was also not thrilled with the way the marriage problems resolved themselves (trying to avoid spoilers, but I just didn't feel that he treated his wife all that well).Still, a fun read about marriage, mid-life crises and identity, with a lot of stuff happening along the way. Infidelity! Terminal illness! The pulitzer! The recession!read more
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The book is a contemporary fiction story set in New York and Washington D.C. Tom, the main protagonist, is in a dead end job, has a shaky marriage, deals with uncooperative body parts and a father who just won the Pulitzer prize in literature. As an aspiring writer himself, this is all just a bit much for Tom as he turns to a sexy co-worker for comfort, unleashes his caustic humor against another co-worker, and self medicates with alcohol and Viagra. Throw in a little cancer and a poor round of golf and you have the summing up of the pitfalls of life in modern America. The story was predictable, but I have to say that Tom has some great one liners that made me laugh. He stumbles his way into making some adult decisions and the book ends on an upbeat note. A casual, at times funny 3 star read.read more
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I love when I find a book that I make time in my day to read. There are some I pick up because I'm bored, and of course I regularly read at certain points in each day, but "Domestic Violets" was a novel that I was desperate to read, and I budgeted huge gaps of time to make it possible.The main character, Tom Violet, is like many other men. Thirty-something, trapped in a soul-crushing job, distanced from his wife and wondering why, worried about erectile dysfunction, and wishing for so much more from his life. He's unique in that his father, a charismatic novelist and Lothario, has just won the Pulitzer, and has moved in with Tom and his family because his latest beautiful-but-crazy wife has kicked him out due to his infidelity.Tom's voice is excellent, and his dry observations on marriage, parents, corporate silliness, and genders carry this novel even when the plot becomes a bit predictable -- happily, not until the end is near. It's a light and easy read with great depth and humor (my favorite kind!), and I was sad to say good-bye to Tom and Curtis Violet.read more
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Tom Violet’s life isn’t what he had hoped it would be. Working for a soul-crushing company where his only jollies come from tormenting his overbearing and obnoxious coworker Gregory, Tom feels stuck and unfulfilled. He also may or may not have a crush on his pretty young assistant Katie, a woman who is as intelligent as she is beautiful. His father is one of the foremost American authors and has just won the Pulitzer, a fact which makes Tom proud and envious all at the same time. Topping it all off, Tom’s penis seems to be malfunctioning, a problem exacerbated by the fact that his wife, Anna, is trying to become pregnant again. Though Tom has been languishing as a desk jockey for several years, he’s just completed his first novel, a fact he’s keeping secret from just about everybody, hoping he’ll one day become an author of the same caliber as his father. When the economic crisis hits, Tom’s job situation suddenly becomes dubiously strange, and while his feelings for Katie begin to mount, Tom’s relationship with his wife is becoming more and more complicated. Soon Tom finds himself at a sticking point at work, at home, and with his novel. Will his self-deprecating wit and verve be enough to save him from sinking, or will Tom go under, desperately trying to cling to all he could possibly lose? In this hilariously funny and inventive debut, Matthew Norman gives us Tom Violet in all his goofball glory and takes us on a journey filled with laughter, absurdity and surprising poignancy.This is another book I felt had a lot of appeal due to it’s effortless comedy. In Norman’s portrayal of sassy and witty Tom, there was hardly a page that didn’t have me snorting with laughter. It was obvious that Tom’s humor was an attempt to give himself a lot of the bravado that he felt had suddenly slipped away from his life, and that his hilarious asides were somewhat of a mask that he placed over his insecurities and self-doubt. It was a coping mechanism, and while it was intensely satisfying to read, smoothing out the narrative and giving the story its zest, it was also very humbling to witness the mental contortions that were basically keeping Tom afloat while his world began to slowly crash down around him.And believe me, Tom had a lot going on. While at first it only seemed like one area of his life needed improvement (his job), soon all the other areas began to fray in a rapid and destructive way. I think that while the sections that focused on Tom’s job provided a lot of levity, there was a realness to what he was going through that many people will recognize. I particularly loved Tom’s interactions with Gregory because I think his unusual form of getting Gregory’s goat was something that office denizens all over would applaud. These scenes were comic gold in my eyes, and for me, the most exciting parts of the book. Tom is also conflicted by the feelings that he has for his coworker, Katie, and though he tries to be as altruistic as possible about the trajectory of their relationship, the reality is much more unmanageable. I believe that Katie represented to Tom his fleeting youth and his desire to once again be carefree and desired. I also believe that these scenes were intensely realistic and at times emotionally tense. Every flicker of attraction that passed between them felt illicit and dangerous, though it was thinly veiled with the ever-present humor and lightheartedness that was a constant fixture of this book.Tom’s familial relationships were also areas that were filled with potential landmines. While his desire for his wife, Anna, is palpable, there was definitely something awry with their relationship, and Norman does a great job of making his readers really think about what’s going on (or not going on, as it were) with them. Tom loves Anna and she loves him, but there’s something just blow the surface that’s causing disrepair between them, and it’s not so easy for him to wish it away. Like Tom’s relationship with Anna, things between Tom and his father, Curtis, aren’t always easy to put the proverbial finger on either. Curtis is a arrogant and loud philanderer, and though father and son are very different, Curtis and Tom may share more traits than one might think. Add to this Curtis’ new and random presence in his son’s life, and Tom isn’t the only one asking questions. Curtis is who Tom wishes to be, his success and magnetism both a lure and a tool for deflection, and though there are things about his father that Tom dislikes, his admiration and wonder for the man leaves him puzzling over his own life and the motives he has for writing his novel.This was a book that managed to be both surprisingly funny yet also very deep, and it was a read that I had no problem getting invested in. It was a lot of fun to get a chance to hang out with the ever effervescent and wacky Tom, and the plot was far from predictable. I think Matthew Norman has a great career ahead of him, and he’s an author whom I’ll be watching. As a side note, this book also contains an author interview in the postscript that had me tearing up with laughter, and it’s not to be missed. An all-star book, highly recommended!read more
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I finished reading this book last night before bed, and since then I have been looking forward to writing this review. Can I just say how much I adored reading this book? I said earlier that this was the best book I have read so far this year, and I meant it. I loved every little thing about it. As soon as this book hits the stores, I am going to go buy a copy for my personal library. Domestic Violets opens a little bit strangely, with its main character Tom having a little problem with erectile dysfunction. Therefore, I was a little bit worried about how the book would play out. It turns out though, that I shouldn't have worried. The story was strange, funny, quirky, pathetic, and absolutely a joy to read. As a reader and reviewer, when a book is great you just know it. This will be a story that just resonates with its readers like it did me. I am physically sad that it is over. Let's talk about the characters for a second, because they are what push the story over the edge into fabulous territory. There's Tom Violet, who is so likeable and flawed at the same time that it makes him feel like a real person and not just a character. Tom hates his job in corporate America, he loves his wife Anna, but the passion has gone out of their relationship. Tom develops a crush on the other copywriter at work. This makes his marriage even worse, because he keeps comparing his relationship with Anna to his relationship with Katie. Then there is the fact that his father is a famous, award winning writer. Tom idolizes his father, but is afraid his marriage will end up failed just like all of the relationships Curtis has had. Tom is also writing a book, but has been afraid to show it to anyone but Katie, because he is afraid that they will hate it. Aside from all those story elements, there is a quirky cast of characters who all feel like they could have existed in the world that I personally inhabit. This is a book for readers, writers, and lovers of books. It's a story about normal people in an insane everyday world, dealing with real life problems. The things that happen in this novel could easily happen to you and me. And that's what makes it so great. Full of dry humor and a whole lot of love, Domestic Violets is a book that everyone should pick up. I would stand out on a street corner in the pouring rain and promote this book for free. That's how much I loved it. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. Highly recommended by me.read more
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Tom Violet is a thirty-something husband and father working at a thankless corporate job in Washington DC. He’s just finished writing a book and although he’s too unsure of himself to actually show it to anyone, he dreams of becoming a famous novelist. It just so happens that his father, Curtis, IS a famous novelist and has just won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.It’s getting harder for Tom to stomach his life in the corporate world and to make matters worse, he and his wife haven’t been communicating very well lately. Then his father shows up at his door in the middle of the night after having been kicked out by his wife. It’s almost more than Tom can take.I picked this book because I had been reading so many great things about in around the blogosphere. I was afraid that, as often happens, my expectations would be too high and it wouldn’t live up to the hype. I couldn’t have been more wrong! This was a fabulous book – it’s hard to believe it’s Matthew Norman’s debut novel. The writing is so descriptive and beautiful. It’s also filled with the dry, sarcastic humor that I love. It has shades of Jonathan Tropper and also of the movie Office Space. Tom is obviously flawed but instantly likeable. Actually most of the characters in this book could be described that way. Everyone must read this book – I insist!read more
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Tom Violet is having a bad day, well, actually a bad life. His sex life is down the drain, his famous father just won the Pulitzer Prize for a book he wrote years ago, he has a dead end job and HIS book will never be published. When his father shows up in his home (actually his father owns the house Tom lives in) states he just left his wife and proceeds to get drunk, Tom really thinks it can't get any worse. Then his mother's husband, Gary shows up as well. If all this sounds depressing, it really isn't since I think I laughed my way through much of this book. This story puts the FUN in dysfunctional. Tom is such and endearing character that you want to take him home, give him a drink and a quiet room and tell him everything is going to be ok. His dark sarcasm and wit are just icing on the cake. This really reminded me a bit of a cross between Carl Hiaasen and Christopher Moore, well, if Moore wrote without paranormal elements. It is funny, because a friend saw this book before I did and sent me an immediate message that this book was perfect for me! It has exactly all of the things I love in a good read: compelling characters, a bit of wackiness and snark. I prize snark over all else.read more
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"When Lyle is gone and I've hung up the phone, I'm faced with the grim prospect of having do my job and write some more corporate propaganda."Tom Violet, 35, married to the beautiful and compassionate Anna and father of the adorable Allie, is a copywriter who is singularly uninspired by his job. To make matters worse, his adulterous, pot-smoking father has just won the Pulitzer Prize. So Tom's debut novel, slaved over in secret for years, looks like a non-starter. Oh, and he's struggling in bed, too.This is a bizarre mix of Then We Came To The End (to which I gave 10/10) and William Walker's First Year of Marriage: A Horror Story (2/10). Unfortunately, Domestic Violets had one of my least favourite types of protagonist: male, perfect family life, cynical, good at his job but apathetic and considers it beneath him, cringingly self-conscious, adulterous - in his mind or in actuality, makes no difference to me.The writing is quite good:"He's one of those aged pot smokers who kept at it while everyone else gave it up and got jobs and started quietly voting Republican.""Her eyes are big and she's jittery from all the excitement, like she's been sneaking handfuls of coffee beans since dinner, and I wish it was legal to fasten children to their beds.""It's like someone called a casting agency and requested an actor to play the part someone to annoy me.""We hold each other's eyes for a moment as he tries to crush my windpipe with his mind."But I wasted 3 hours on William Walker and wasn't going to make the same mistake with this one.One for fans of Nick Hornby.read more
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Contemporary novels depicting the tribulations of women are often referred to as 'Chick Lit.' If there is an opposite, I believe Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman has introduced an authentic 'Dude Lit' novel into the fictional world. This self-depreciating tale explores life's pit falls with a humorous edge and provides relatable circumstances that are complicated, but not entirely isolated because many adults face similar situations at some point in the work place, marriage and in familiar relationships. The male perspective is refreshing and I image it will be well-received by both women and men giving Dude Lit an advantage over Chick lit (read primarily by females). The story-line is predictable. Often, it is obvious where things are going and will end just as expected or anticipated. No surprises here. Men get a freer pass, a bit self-righteous in places, and the female characters are left to burden fault mixed with guilt due to the omission of truth and full disclosure. A plot twist seems opportunistic and given the father's ego, which is addressed the entire novel, I can't reconcile that he'd accept the offer presented by Tommy Violet. I understand why the author took this route, but I personally didn't like it. It was a convenient tie up of a loose end and an easy revelation. It was the path of least resistant and will give readers the over-all impression of a happy ending. The everyone wins, sort of, approach.read more
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BOOK DESCRIPTIONTom Violet is having a midlife crisis. Besides suffering from erectile dysfunction, he thinks his wife Anna might be having an affair. His dog Hank suffers from anxiety. Although the manuscript he’s been secretly working on for years is finally finished, his father Curtis has just been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. (In addition, Curtis seems to have left his latest wife and moved in with Tom and his family.) His job at a soul-killing corporation writing copy filled with meaningless buzzwords bores him to tears. He makes work bearable by needling his arch-nemesis Gregory. The only good thing? His relationship with his cute young coworker Katie … who seems like she might reciprocate his inappropriate feelings towards her. What’s a sarcastic, frustrated writer with a larger-than-life father and a hot wife who doesn’t seem to need him anymore do to get his life back on track?MY THOUGHTSThis book was a hoot! Although this is his debut novel, Norman writes with self-assurance and gives Tom a blackly comic voice that tickled my funny bone and had me wondering just how he was going to work through all his problems. The book reminded me a bit of Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You, in that both deal with wacky, dysfunctional families with major issues to tackle. I mean this as a very high compliment, as I adored Tropper’s book.Although most of us probably couldn’t relate to having a father who is one of the greatest living American writers when our secret aspiration is to be a writer, most of us can relate to soul-killing jobs in offices that are full of backstabbing, empty buzzwords and nebulous goals. The sections where Tom is at work were my favorites. They brought back memories from my own office experiences.I also thought that the marriage between Tom and Anna felt true and lived in. Although both of them are seeking attention and validation outside of the marriage, they still love each other and are trying to find a way back to each other. I think most long-term marriages might go through patches like this—where the person we love is almost too familiar and trapped with us in the drudgery of daily life to be exciting and appealing. In addition, the relationship that Tom has with his coworker Katie seemed believable. I’ve observed several situations in my own life when the coworker relationship crossed some kind of line without straying all the way to affair. It is a curious dynamic that I haven’t seen addressed too often in fiction, and it was interesting to see how it developed.The book is a fun, fast read, and I look forward to finding out what Norman writes next. Recommended for readers who enjoy narrators with a sarcastic sense of humor, flaws and messed-up lives just like most of us!read more
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Based on the title and description for Domestic Violets I was expecting a light-hearted, comical, easy read. What a great surprise when I started reading and discovered it was so much more. Matthew Norman is one part Richard Russo and one part Michael Chabon with a dash of Nick Hornby. Domestic Violets is a sarcastic yet sentimental study of family, fathers and sons, and underachievement. Tom Violet is neglecting his marriage, plodding along in his dead in corporate job,more than a bit lost, but cautiously optimistic about the future. His gimlet-eyed view of himself and the world around him is refreshing and sometimes laugh out loud funny. Tom is smart, sarcastic, irreverent, and a bit immature, but he means well. I couldn't put the book down and wish I could have hung out with the Violets for much longer.read more
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Tom Violet wants to be a writer, a real writer like his Pulitzer Prize winning father. Instead he is working a boring, dead-end, corporate job as a copywriter. Tom has secretly written a novel but doesn’t want to tell anyone, especially now that his father has just won The Pulitzer. To add to Tom’s troubles he is having problems with his marriage, which translates into a “problem” in the bedroom, he develops a crush on a young co-worker, and to top it off his father showed up in the middle of the night for a visit and intends to stay. Tom can hardly throw him out for his dad owns the house.This may not sound like a fantastic premise for a book: Guy seems to have everything but is never happy and always whiny. Nope, that’s not what this book is about. This is an hysterically funny, well-written story with interesting characters. It’s witty and intelligent and truly captures the dreariness of the corporate world that Tom is trapped in. As a corporate worker myself, I recognized many of the character types that Tom has to deal with on a daily basis. His scintillating comments and observations are priceless.The funniest moment, and there were many to choose from, was Tom’s “mad as hell and not gonna take it any more” type rant when he publishes a scathing press release shortly after finding out a co-worker who loathes and torments him is now his boss. The press release goes viral, Tom gets fired and becomes a hero to workers everywhere. It was so good I had to listen to it twice. It’s not all comedy and there are some serious, touching moments to round out the story.This audio version of the book was easy to listen to and Todd McLaren sounded just as I expected Tom Violet to sound. It would have been nice to have a second, female, reader to do the women’s voices but that’s a wish and not a complaint as the audio was just fine. The only problem I had, if you could call it that, was bursting out laughing while walking around listening to the book because parts of it were so darn funny I couldn’t help myself. I’m sure the print version is just as good. I highly recommend this book.read more
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Did not finish. I got so terribly tired of hearing of the complaints of a middle aged white man after the first 15 pages, then after another 15 I wanted to die. The protaganist, Tom Violet, was just so dramatically self-obsessed. I suppose the book's about him and he has a right to whine as much as he'd like, but really- hearing about erectile dysfunction and lusting after a colleague? Not terribly creative.read more
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If there's ever anything I like in life, it's humor. Whether it's dry, moist, or any varying degree in between. Perhaps that's why I found Domestic Violets to be so refreshingly plainspoken. This book is a satire. From the very first page, it was obvious. It is a satire about everything. Life. Relationships. The boring, daily job. It also includes snippets of almost current events. If you enjoy satires as much as I do, then this book is a definite must.As much as I like this book, it was a little slow in the beginning. I feel that a good portion of the book was dedicated to establishing the setting. When I say good, it isn't in a good way either (bad writing there, but oh well, who reads these anyways?). But when the book picks up steam, it doesn't let up until you read to the back cover.[Insert witty, closing line here]*Thanks Goodreads First Reads Giveaway for a copy of this book, it will have an honorary place on my bookshelf*read more
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Tom Violet has a job that is slowly crushing his soul, and his marriage is not quite as easy and comfortable as it should be after so many years together. To top it off, his famous father has upped the ante by being awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Suddenly, Tom finds himself running headlong into the boredom that defines his professional life, the uncertainty that surrounds his marriage, and the jealousy that surrounds his relationship with his father. How he handles it all is the brilliance behind Matthew Norman's Domestic Violets.Tom is very much the everyman, someone who feels his or her dreams are realistic and achievable. Tom is not going through a mid-life crisis; at age 35, he is not old enough for that yet. However, his father's success forces him to reevaluate his life while he is still young enough to be able to change the trajectory of it. The success of the novel lies in Tom's ability to see the ridiculousness of his situation and his slow realization of what he needs to do about it. Tom is seeking what everyone is seeking – a chance to be happy and fulfilled – and, even if the reader does not aspire to become a published author, his struggles are just as relevant. For those who are currently caught up in the rat race that is the current business environment, Domestic Violets is wickedly funny and oh-so-timely. Mr. Norman’s satirical nod at the overuse of buzzwords, the lack of compassion from those high up on the corporate food chain, economic uncertainty and its impact on the work environment is scarily accurate, but he excels at showing the idiocy of it all. He gets what it is like to hear the same meaningless words repeatedly. He understands that companies make the wrong decisions for no reason other than because they can. He captures what it does to the human psyche when a company who earns billions of dollars each year cuts employees, benefits, or other costs, citing a need to tighten belts and conserve money. Domestic Violets is a bit like a hybrid between the movies OFFICE SPACE and AMERICAN BEAUTY except for the literary crowd. It is a must-read for those who feel the monotony of business life and are unconsciously searching for something more meaningful in life. Thank you to TLC Book Tours and of for my review copy!read more
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I heart Tom Violet! He is my first bookish crush. He's smart, creative, funny, and flawed - just the type of guy you want to marry and have babies with (yes, I still want to marry him in spite of that night with Katie). Tom is such a realistically drawn out character: he's struggling with his marriage; battling his arch nemesis, Gregory, at work; crushing on his assistant Katie; and dealing with the fact that his father, the famous Curtis Violet, has just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. You see, Tom wants to be a writer, too. He wants to produce something that will provide him with his own piece of glory, which is why he's bummed that no one (wife, mother, and almost agent) has read his book yet, to let him know just how awesome his writing is. Domestic Violets is a breath of fresh air - its clever, hilarious, honest and real, which makes it such a great book to read. Matthew Norman has truly hit it out of the park with his debut novel - not only has he demonstrated what a talented author he is with this cast of unforgettable characters, but he's also created this year's must read novel. I would most definitely recommend this novel to everyone! The writing is spot on and the story itself is so engaging that you can't help but find yourself so completely immersed in these character's lives that soon you are not only cheering them on to succeed, but also shedding a few tears when bad news finds them. Reading this book was such a treat, that I wish I hadn't read it in one day and instead taken my time with it so that I could prolong reaching the end. Now I can't wait for Norman's next book, because I'm sure its going to be just as brilliant as Domestic Violets was.read more
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I really enjoyed this book - well written, entertaining, funny. A book about authors and writing - what's not to like?read more
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This is a truly insightful book. The title translates as "soul friend," and Donohue talks in-depth about ancient Celtic wisdom and spirituality. If you have interest in any spirituality at all, not just shamanism, I really recommend this book.
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Here's the thing with O'Donohue. He writes mystically and poetically. I'd rather hear him speak than read his words. Actually, reading it on Kindle is a weird, weird trip. I think this is one of those books that you have to have in print, in hand, with a cup of coffee or a pint of porter at hand, sitting on the deck overlooking a natural scene.

I LOVE the guy, I just find that it's hard to read this particular book in the form that I have it.
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I rarely read spiritual books, but I'm glad I read this one. O'Donohue writes lyrical prose, telling us to have compassion, to find our soul friends, to sink into the bliss of solitude, and to find our way to the other side. This from a man who has done scholarly work on Hagel. I recommend this book to anyone seeking peace and calm in the turbulence of life.
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This is a book that touched me deeply. To put it very simply, it is a book about friendship. That "soul friend" that each of us long for and yet so few of us are fortunate to claim. This is a story of humanity and yearning. It is a story of love and loss and spirituality. O'Donohue writes in a poetic and compassionate way about life.
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(From my review on Amazon in 1998.)Each sentence is a ponderable morsel.Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom is truly a work of art. Over the past three years, I have been working on discovering myself through self-help books, 12-step programs, religious study, and personal introspection. This book summed up everything I have learned (the hard way) during this time, and presented it in a beautiful package that was invigorating and thought-provoking to read. It was a pure joy. I began reading it in January, and have only just finished it last night, because each sentance was a ponderable morsel. Sometimes I would read a phrase five times over in order to fully grasp and apply it's meaning to my life. This is not a 70 mph trip through the McDonald's drive-thru, this is a seven course meal in Vienna, and every bite demands that you hold it in your mouth to savor it.Anam Cara is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. I plan to read it again in a year or so, because I know I will get new things out of it. I am already loaning it to a friend, and have a couple of others in mind I'd like to loan it to. I can't keep this from the ones I love.
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I keep picking this book up and reading a chapter and putting it away for a while so that my mind can understand the chapter. A regular re-read.
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Another smart, witty comedy by a male author – I am on a roll this year and loving it. I fully admit to being one of those readers who is lured by pretty, magical covers and I dodged around this book numerous times in the bookstore because it just didn’t grab me – but then I started seeing reviews.. and those reviews spoke really, really well of this book.So … I gave it a shot.I am so glad I did. Once again, I am reminded never to judge a book by its cover. This story had me in tears, it had me groaning with pity, it had me just completely entertained for hours and hours. I savored the story, enjoying how well-crafted it was and I felt like I was reading a book that didn’t pull its punches. When I finally read the final page I felt as if I was saying goodbye to friends, and that, folks, is story-telling. I connected with these characters and I wanted more.I’ll definitely be looking for more stories from Mr. Norman – which I hope is soon, because I do not necessarily want to be reading his book on developing web applications!Check this one out if you enjoy smart contemporary stories.
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I requested and received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the book (I didn’t make it through the first chapter, actually) so can only comment here on why it wasn’t the right book for me. The opening scene is, I think, designed to shock as the reader is welcomed into the bedroom of a couple trying to conceive and given a fairly explicit account of their … ummm … activities. In a previous life, I’d have found it funny rather than shocking and perhaps that was the author’s intent. We got off on the wrong foot, however, and as I progressed through the chapter I didn’t find myself feeling any more comfortable so I decided to stop as my thoughts were stuck on ‘Why am I reading this?’ ’I don’t read books like this.’ ’I don’t read chick lit.’And that’s the bottom line. When I read the descriptions of this book, I zeroed in on it being about a writer having a bit of a mid-life crisis when his father wins the Pullitzer. What I got was the opening of what may be a very good chick lit book. And I don’t read chick lit.
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Book Review - Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman Mathew Norman Domestic Violets Format: e-book Edition (Kindle) File Size: 652 KB Print Length: 352 pages Publisher: Harper Perennial Publication Date: August 9, 2011 ASIN: B004NNUX66Tom Violet’s life train is headed for a disastrous and inevitable derailment and he isn’t even aware of it yet. His job is in jeopardy, his wife is unhappy and worse, and he’s a consummate crack-up who can’t hold his tongue. Add an entire suitcase full of daddy issues and you have an entirely engaging and entertaining work of fiction. But Tom is one of those fortunate people who find that sometimes when life calls for changes you roll with the punches and change. Certain reviews of Domestic Violets have categorized this book as chick-lit but it is far from that. As a matter of fact it isn’t for or about love at all. Pure and simple it is satire of the highest degree. Life, relationships, boring jobs, publishing, sex, drugs, etc. nothing is safe from the critical eye of Matthew Norman.However, the real reason this story works so well is the amount of clever and witty humor that first appeared on page one and never ended. At times, Norman had me in stitches. At others he had me in tears. And do you know why? Because he understands the human condition and while giving the readers a sense of the absurd he also hit the nail on the head more often than not. He told us in simple terms what people think, and feel, and say when their relationships are in trouble and in an odd way he also told us what they say and think and feel when they need to repair a failing relationship. This is a story to savor. It is well- crafted, funny, down-to-earth, flows quickly, and has that “it” quality I look for in every book; that page turning what-the-heck happens-next-oh-crap-this-is-totally-entertaining-and-wow-am-I-enjoying-myself-quality that you don’t often find in fiction these days.Anyone reading my reviews for very long would see that this is obviously not my normal bill-of-faire but on the advice of a friend (thanks Lisa) I gave it a try and found myself enjoying every page of this finely crafted novel. Do yourself a favor. Pick up Domestic Violets today. Give it a read and see if you don’t agree.4 ½ stars out of 5The Alternative Southeast Wisconsin
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One of the characters in Domestic Violets remarks that most first novels are autobiographical. Whether or not they’re autobiographical, it seems to me that a lot of first novels tend to be reminiscent of other people’s novels. That’s not meant to say that they can be derivative; it’s more likely due to the fact that a new author doesn’t have an established record yet, so he or she really can’t be easily evaluated against his own catalog. This can work either for or against them, depending on the connections a reader makes between the new author’s work and other fiction that seems similar--and with Domestic Violets, just about all of my associations were favorable.I think it’s an interesting comment on how quickly we process current events in the 21st century that Domestic Violets was published in the early autumn of 2011, and its events very specifically take place in the early autumn of 2008. The presidential election and the spread of the Great Recession both influence what’s happening to Tom Violet. Having said that, Domestic Violets isn’t about either of those events; as its rather punny title implies, this novel is firmly located in the domestic-fiction sphere. Its concerns--marital strains, friction between parents and adult children, career dissatisfaction--are everyday and entirely relatable, although in most everyday lives they’re not as funny.The humor runs high in Domestic Violets, as narrator/protagonist Tom Violet relies on it as a coping mechanism for the chaos of his life. He’s just worked up the nerve to show people the novel he’s been working on secretly for five years, while his world-famous novelist father has finally won the Pulitzer Prize--and moved into his spare bedroom, He and his wife Anna are in what’s best described as a “rough patch,” and his attraction to his young coworker isn’t helping smooth that out. The attractive coworker, and the amusement of an ongoing feud with a MUCH less attractive coworker, may be his primary reasons for going to the office each day, because the work holds almost no attraction at all. Things are pretty clearly on the verge of falling apart...and they do, quite entertainingly. Seeing how Tom picks up the pieces is quite entertaining as well.As I mentioned earlier, Domestic Violets reminded me of several other novels and novelists--all favorably. Matthew Norman’s style is his own, but his approach to some aspects of the novel reminded me of Jonathan Tropper and Greg Olear, while some of the work-oriented sections brought to mind Joshua Ferris’ Then We Came to the End. But Norman’s depictions of the domestic misadventures of literary people, particularly in the later portions of the novel, most made me think of Michael Chabon’s second novel, Wonder Boys. Chabon’s one of my very favorite authors, and Wonder Boys is my favorite of his books, so my connecting Domestic Violets with it is a very good thing for Matthew Norman and the future of our reading relationship.
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I don't typically read stories with men as the main character, so this was new for me. It's not that I try to stay away from them, it's just most books I tend to read are narrated in a girl's tone.The book starts out with Tom Violet complaining about his flaccid penis. I've got to admit, this was a first for me. But surprisingly, as strange as it sounds, it drew me in. I wanted to know what was going to happen to this man.There were parts of the story the were a little predictable to me. Like some aspects of his father's life, among other things. But those didn't stop me from loving the book.There were also few parts where I absolutely could NOT put this book down. I felt my heart speed up and my stomach drop as something HUGE was about to take place. That, to me, is definitely the mark of a good book.I really felt like I connected with Tom, especially regarding his job. Being someone who doesn't love their job it was quite easy to relate. I loved Tom's sarcastic whit, it reminded me a lot of my own husband in a way.I felt invested in each of the relationships in the book. I cared what was going to happen to them and worried everything would fall apart.I'm so glad I read this book.
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I found this book to be enjoyable and quite refreshing. I would have found a similar novel from the point of view of the wife to be tired and done to death. But from Tom's view, it had humor as well as poignancy. I didn't find the book as humorous as some because Tom seemed depressed to me, though hiding it behind his jokes.I think many will be able to relate to Tom's boring job at what he refers to as the "Death Star" and the highlights of his day include annoying his uptight colleague who takes work too seriously, and his snack runs with his cute and much younger underling, Katie. So far, Katie is the only one to read Tom's novel and she loves it.But now Tom is feeling overshadowed by his very successful and Pulitzer-Prize winning author father, Curtis Violet. Also, his wife wants to have another baby and his erectile dysfunction is not helping matters.This was a really good novel, with some great characters and great writing. I highly recommend it!my rating 4.5/5
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It can't be easy living in the shadow of a famous author parent, especially when deep down, you want nothing so much as to write too. Thirty-five year old Tom Violet has been writing a novel for years, a little afraid his work won't be as good as his father's. After all, Curtis Violet has won all the major literary prizes and has now finally won the Pulitzer for fiction. But Tom has more than just his fears about writing inadequacies to worry about. The novel opens with him in the bathroom bemoaning his flaccid penis while his wife patiently waits for him in their bed, his erectile dysfunction merely a symptom of a larger problem in their marriage. He loathes his work as a copywriter stuck in a soul-sucking corporate job in the midst of the financial meltdown. If Tom had ever grown-up, he might be having a midlife crisis, as it is, and despite his actual age, he's just coming of age into the messiness of life and wondering how he got to where he is now. As Tom wrestles with the place in which he finds himself, he endears himself, in all his self-deprecating glory, to the reader. He is a bit of a jerk, needling a co-worker he hates at every opportunity and fantasizing about a young and beautiful colleague, but at heart, he is a good guy, wanting everything to come out right for others, even if he's a little afraid of that kind of success and happiness for himself. The secondary characters, his father Curtis, wife Anna, step-father Gary, daughter Allie, are all wonderful, quirky, and eminently human. Tom's overwhelming anxiety, stress, and dissatisfaction with his life are very relatable for readers and his response to the setbacks he faces are perhaps the things we all wish we could do or say at one time or another. There's a magnificent dry humor at work throughout the novel and Norman has written an entertaining send-up of authors and the literary world through the person of Curtis Violet. As the title suggests, this is a domestic-centered novel and it succeeds in all the ways that it does without the pyrotechnics of Hollywood. Refreshing, humorous, and appealing, Domestic Violets is a book that shows us our present, sends us up, and delivers the good feeling that is so hard to pull off without being too treacle. A quick and entertaining read, you'll leave its pages wishing you could meet the slightly bumbling, slightly snarky Tom Violet yourself.
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While this was mostly fun, there were a lot of elements to this book that I found irritating. Probably foremost was that I didn't believe in the main characters as English Literature majors, but I was also not thrilled with the way the marriage problems resolved themselves (trying to avoid spoilers, but I just didn't feel that he treated his wife all that well).Still, a fun read about marriage, mid-life crises and identity, with a lot of stuff happening along the way. Infidelity! Terminal illness! The pulitzer! The recession!
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The book is a contemporary fiction story set in New York and Washington D.C. Tom, the main protagonist, is in a dead end job, has a shaky marriage, deals with uncooperative body parts and a father who just won the Pulitzer prize in literature. As an aspiring writer himself, this is all just a bit much for Tom as he turns to a sexy co-worker for comfort, unleashes his caustic humor against another co-worker, and self medicates with alcohol and Viagra. Throw in a little cancer and a poor round of golf and you have the summing up of the pitfalls of life in modern America. The story was predictable, but I have to say that Tom has some great one liners that made me laugh. He stumbles his way into making some adult decisions and the book ends on an upbeat note. A casual, at times funny 3 star read.
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I love when I find a book that I make time in my day to read. There are some I pick up because I'm bored, and of course I regularly read at certain points in each day, but "Domestic Violets" was a novel that I was desperate to read, and I budgeted huge gaps of time to make it possible.The main character, Tom Violet, is like many other men. Thirty-something, trapped in a soul-crushing job, distanced from his wife and wondering why, worried about erectile dysfunction, and wishing for so much more from his life. He's unique in that his father, a charismatic novelist and Lothario, has just won the Pulitzer, and has moved in with Tom and his family because his latest beautiful-but-crazy wife has kicked him out due to his infidelity.Tom's voice is excellent, and his dry observations on marriage, parents, corporate silliness, and genders carry this novel even when the plot becomes a bit predictable -- happily, not until the end is near. It's a light and easy read with great depth and humor (my favorite kind!), and I was sad to say good-bye to Tom and Curtis Violet.
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Tom Violet’s life isn’t what he had hoped it would be. Working for a soul-crushing company where his only jollies come from tormenting his overbearing and obnoxious coworker Gregory, Tom feels stuck and unfulfilled. He also may or may not have a crush on his pretty young assistant Katie, a woman who is as intelligent as she is beautiful. His father is one of the foremost American authors and has just won the Pulitzer, a fact which makes Tom proud and envious all at the same time. Topping it all off, Tom’s penis seems to be malfunctioning, a problem exacerbated by the fact that his wife, Anna, is trying to become pregnant again. Though Tom has been languishing as a desk jockey for several years, he’s just completed his first novel, a fact he’s keeping secret from just about everybody, hoping he’ll one day become an author of the same caliber as his father. When the economic crisis hits, Tom’s job situation suddenly becomes dubiously strange, and while his feelings for Katie begin to mount, Tom’s relationship with his wife is becoming more and more complicated. Soon Tom finds himself at a sticking point at work, at home, and with his novel. Will his self-deprecating wit and verve be enough to save him from sinking, or will Tom go under, desperately trying to cling to all he could possibly lose? In this hilariously funny and inventive debut, Matthew Norman gives us Tom Violet in all his goofball glory and takes us on a journey filled with laughter, absurdity and surprising poignancy.This is another book I felt had a lot of appeal due to it’s effortless comedy. In Norman’s portrayal of sassy and witty Tom, there was hardly a page that didn’t have me snorting with laughter. It was obvious that Tom’s humor was an attempt to give himself a lot of the bravado that he felt had suddenly slipped away from his life, and that his hilarious asides were somewhat of a mask that he placed over his insecurities and self-doubt. It was a coping mechanism, and while it was intensely satisfying to read, smoothing out the narrative and giving the story its zest, it was also very humbling to witness the mental contortions that were basically keeping Tom afloat while his world began to slowly crash down around him.And believe me, Tom had a lot going on. While at first it only seemed like one area of his life needed improvement (his job), soon all the other areas began to fray in a rapid and destructive way. I think that while the sections that focused on Tom’s job provided a lot of levity, there was a realness to what he was going through that many people will recognize. I particularly loved Tom’s interactions with Gregory because I think his unusual form of getting Gregory’s goat was something that office denizens all over would applaud. These scenes were comic gold in my eyes, and for me, the most exciting parts of the book. Tom is also conflicted by the feelings that he has for his coworker, Katie, and though he tries to be as altruistic as possible about the trajectory of their relationship, the reality is much more unmanageable. I believe that Katie represented to Tom his fleeting youth and his desire to once again be carefree and desired. I also believe that these scenes were intensely realistic and at times emotionally tense. Every flicker of attraction that passed between them felt illicit and dangerous, though it was thinly veiled with the ever-present humor and lightheartedness that was a constant fixture of this book.Tom’s familial relationships were also areas that were filled with potential landmines. While his desire for his wife, Anna, is palpable, there was definitely something awry with their relationship, and Norman does a great job of making his readers really think about what’s going on (or not going on, as it were) with them. Tom loves Anna and she loves him, but there’s something just blow the surface that’s causing disrepair between them, and it’s not so easy for him to wish it away. Like Tom’s relationship with Anna, things between Tom and his father, Curtis, aren’t always easy to put the proverbial finger on either. Curtis is a arrogant and loud philanderer, and though father and son are very different, Curtis and Tom may share more traits than one might think. Add to this Curtis’ new and random presence in his son’s life, and Tom isn’t the only one asking questions. Curtis is who Tom wishes to be, his success and magnetism both a lure and a tool for deflection, and though there are things about his father that Tom dislikes, his admiration and wonder for the man leaves him puzzling over his own life and the motives he has for writing his novel.This was a book that managed to be both surprisingly funny yet also very deep, and it was a read that I had no problem getting invested in. It was a lot of fun to get a chance to hang out with the ever effervescent and wacky Tom, and the plot was far from predictable. I think Matthew Norman has a great career ahead of him, and he’s an author whom I’ll be watching. As a side note, this book also contains an author interview in the postscript that had me tearing up with laughter, and it’s not to be missed. An all-star book, highly recommended!
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I finished reading this book last night before bed, and since then I have been looking forward to writing this review. Can I just say how much I adored reading this book? I said earlier that this was the best book I have read so far this year, and I meant it. I loved every little thing about it. As soon as this book hits the stores, I am going to go buy a copy for my personal library. Domestic Violets opens a little bit strangely, with its main character Tom having a little problem with erectile dysfunction. Therefore, I was a little bit worried about how the book would play out. It turns out though, that I shouldn't have worried. The story was strange, funny, quirky, pathetic, and absolutely a joy to read. As a reader and reviewer, when a book is great you just know it. This will be a story that just resonates with its readers like it did me. I am physically sad that it is over. Let's talk about the characters for a second, because they are what push the story over the edge into fabulous territory. There's Tom Violet, who is so likeable and flawed at the same time that it makes him feel like a real person and not just a character. Tom hates his job in corporate America, he loves his wife Anna, but the passion has gone out of their relationship. Tom develops a crush on the other copywriter at work. This makes his marriage even worse, because he keeps comparing his relationship with Anna to his relationship with Katie. Then there is the fact that his father is a famous, award winning writer. Tom idolizes his father, but is afraid his marriage will end up failed just like all of the relationships Curtis has had. Tom is also writing a book, but has been afraid to show it to anyone but Katie, because he is afraid that they will hate it. Aside from all those story elements, there is a quirky cast of characters who all feel like they could have existed in the world that I personally inhabit. This is a book for readers, writers, and lovers of books. It's a story about normal people in an insane everyday world, dealing with real life problems. The things that happen in this novel could easily happen to you and me. And that's what makes it so great. Full of dry humor and a whole lot of love, Domestic Violets is a book that everyone should pick up. I would stand out on a street corner in the pouring rain and promote this book for free. That's how much I loved it. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. Highly recommended by me.
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Tom Violet is a thirty-something husband and father working at a thankless corporate job in Washington DC. He’s just finished writing a book and although he’s too unsure of himself to actually show it to anyone, he dreams of becoming a famous novelist. It just so happens that his father, Curtis, IS a famous novelist and has just won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.It’s getting harder for Tom to stomach his life in the corporate world and to make matters worse, he and his wife haven’t been communicating very well lately. Then his father shows up at his door in the middle of the night after having been kicked out by his wife. It’s almost more than Tom can take.I picked this book because I had been reading so many great things about in around the blogosphere. I was afraid that, as often happens, my expectations would be too high and it wouldn’t live up to the hype. I couldn’t have been more wrong! This was a fabulous book – it’s hard to believe it’s Matthew Norman’s debut novel. The writing is so descriptive and beautiful. It’s also filled with the dry, sarcastic humor that I love. It has shades of Jonathan Tropper and also of the movie Office Space. Tom is obviously flawed but instantly likeable. Actually most of the characters in this book could be described that way. Everyone must read this book – I insist!
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Tom Violet is having a bad day, well, actually a bad life. His sex life is down the drain, his famous father just won the Pulitzer Prize for a book he wrote years ago, he has a dead end job and HIS book will never be published. When his father shows up in his home (actually his father owns the house Tom lives in) states he just left his wife and proceeds to get drunk, Tom really thinks it can't get any worse. Then his mother's husband, Gary shows up as well. If all this sounds depressing, it really isn't since I think I laughed my way through much of this book. This story puts the FUN in dysfunctional. Tom is such and endearing character that you want to take him home, give him a drink and a quiet room and tell him everything is going to be ok. His dark sarcasm and wit are just icing on the cake. This really reminded me a bit of a cross between Carl Hiaasen and Christopher Moore, well, if Moore wrote without paranormal elements. It is funny, because a friend saw this book before I did and sent me an immediate message that this book was perfect for me! It has exactly all of the things I love in a good read: compelling characters, a bit of wackiness and snark. I prize snark over all else.
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"When Lyle is gone and I've hung up the phone, I'm faced with the grim prospect of having do my job and write some more corporate propaganda."Tom Violet, 35, married to the beautiful and compassionate Anna and father of the adorable Allie, is a copywriter who is singularly uninspired by his job. To make matters worse, his adulterous, pot-smoking father has just won the Pulitzer Prize. So Tom's debut novel, slaved over in secret for years, looks like a non-starter. Oh, and he's struggling in bed, too.This is a bizarre mix of Then We Came To The End (to which I gave 10/10) and William Walker's First Year of Marriage: A Horror Story (2/10). Unfortunately, Domestic Violets had one of my least favourite types of protagonist: male, perfect family life, cynical, good at his job but apathetic and considers it beneath him, cringingly self-conscious, adulterous - in his mind or in actuality, makes no difference to me.The writing is quite good:"He's one of those aged pot smokers who kept at it while everyone else gave it up and got jobs and started quietly voting Republican.""Her eyes are big and she's jittery from all the excitement, like she's been sneaking handfuls of coffee beans since dinner, and I wish it was legal to fasten children to their beds.""It's like someone called a casting agency and requested an actor to play the part someone to annoy me.""We hold each other's eyes for a moment as he tries to crush my windpipe with his mind."But I wasted 3 hours on William Walker and wasn't going to make the same mistake with this one.One for fans of Nick Hornby.
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Contemporary novels depicting the tribulations of women are often referred to as 'Chick Lit.' If there is an opposite, I believe Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman has introduced an authentic 'Dude Lit' novel into the fictional world. This self-depreciating tale explores life's pit falls with a humorous edge and provides relatable circumstances that are complicated, but not entirely isolated because many adults face similar situations at some point in the work place, marriage and in familiar relationships. The male perspective is refreshing and I image it will be well-received by both women and men giving Dude Lit an advantage over Chick lit (read primarily by females). The story-line is predictable. Often, it is obvious where things are going and will end just as expected or anticipated. No surprises here. Men get a freer pass, a bit self-righteous in places, and the female characters are left to burden fault mixed with guilt due to the omission of truth and full disclosure. A plot twist seems opportunistic and given the father's ego, which is addressed the entire novel, I can't reconcile that he'd accept the offer presented by Tommy Violet. I understand why the author took this route, but I personally didn't like it. It was a convenient tie up of a loose end and an easy revelation. It was the path of least resistant and will give readers the over-all impression of a happy ending. The everyone wins, sort of, approach.
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BOOK DESCRIPTIONTom Violet is having a midlife crisis. Besides suffering from erectile dysfunction, he thinks his wife Anna might be having an affair. His dog Hank suffers from anxiety. Although the manuscript he’s been secretly working on for years is finally finished, his father Curtis has just been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. (In addition, Curtis seems to have left his latest wife and moved in with Tom and his family.) His job at a soul-killing corporation writing copy filled with meaningless buzzwords bores him to tears. He makes work bearable by needling his arch-nemesis Gregory. The only good thing? His relationship with his cute young coworker Katie … who seems like she might reciprocate his inappropriate feelings towards her. What’s a sarcastic, frustrated writer with a larger-than-life father and a hot wife who doesn’t seem to need him anymore do to get his life back on track?MY THOUGHTSThis book was a hoot! Although this is his debut novel, Norman writes with self-assurance and gives Tom a blackly comic voice that tickled my funny bone and had me wondering just how he was going to work through all his problems. The book reminded me a bit of Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You, in that both deal with wacky, dysfunctional families with major issues to tackle. I mean this as a very high compliment, as I adored Tropper’s book.Although most of us probably couldn’t relate to having a father who is one of the greatest living American writers when our secret aspiration is to be a writer, most of us can relate to soul-killing jobs in offices that are full of backstabbing, empty buzzwords and nebulous goals. The sections where Tom is at work were my favorites. They brought back memories from my own office experiences.I also thought that the marriage between Tom and Anna felt true and lived in. Although both of them are seeking attention and validation outside of the marriage, they still love each other and are trying to find a way back to each other. I think most long-term marriages might go through patches like this—where the person we love is almost too familiar and trapped with us in the drudgery of daily life to be exciting and appealing. In addition, the relationship that Tom has with his coworker Katie seemed believable. I’ve observed several situations in my own life when the coworker relationship crossed some kind of line without straying all the way to affair. It is a curious dynamic that I haven’t seen addressed too often in fiction, and it was interesting to see how it developed.The book is a fun, fast read, and I look forward to finding out what Norman writes next. Recommended for readers who enjoy narrators with a sarcastic sense of humor, flaws and messed-up lives just like most of us!
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Based on the title and description for Domestic Violets I was expecting a light-hearted, comical, easy read. What a great surprise when I started reading and discovered it was so much more. Matthew Norman is one part Richard Russo and one part Michael Chabon with a dash of Nick Hornby. Domestic Violets is a sarcastic yet sentimental study of family, fathers and sons, and underachievement. Tom Violet is neglecting his marriage, plodding along in his dead in corporate job,more than a bit lost, but cautiously optimistic about the future. His gimlet-eyed view of himself and the world around him is refreshing and sometimes laugh out loud funny. Tom is smart, sarcastic, irreverent, and a bit immature, but he means well. I couldn't put the book down and wish I could have hung out with the Violets for much longer.
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Tom Violet wants to be a writer, a real writer like his Pulitzer Prize winning father. Instead he is working a boring, dead-end, corporate job as a copywriter. Tom has secretly written a novel but doesn’t want to tell anyone, especially now that his father has just won The Pulitzer. To add to Tom’s troubles he is having problems with his marriage, which translates into a “problem” in the bedroom, he develops a crush on a young co-worker, and to top it off his father showed up in the middle of the night for a visit and intends to stay. Tom can hardly throw him out for his dad owns the house.This may not sound like a fantastic premise for a book: Guy seems to have everything but is never happy and always whiny. Nope, that’s not what this book is about. This is an hysterically funny, well-written story with interesting characters. It’s witty and intelligent and truly captures the dreariness of the corporate world that Tom is trapped in. As a corporate worker myself, I recognized many of the character types that Tom has to deal with on a daily basis. His scintillating comments and observations are priceless.The funniest moment, and there were many to choose from, was Tom’s “mad as hell and not gonna take it any more” type rant when he publishes a scathing press release shortly after finding out a co-worker who loathes and torments him is now his boss. The press release goes viral, Tom gets fired and becomes a hero to workers everywhere. It was so good I had to listen to it twice. It’s not all comedy and there are some serious, touching moments to round out the story.This audio version of the book was easy to listen to and Todd McLaren sounded just as I expected Tom Violet to sound. It would have been nice to have a second, female, reader to do the women’s voices but that’s a wish and not a complaint as the audio was just fine. The only problem I had, if you could call it that, was bursting out laughing while walking around listening to the book because parts of it were so darn funny I couldn’t help myself. I’m sure the print version is just as good. I highly recommend this book.
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Did not finish. I got so terribly tired of hearing of the complaints of a middle aged white man after the first 15 pages, then after another 15 I wanted to die. The protaganist, Tom Violet, was just so dramatically self-obsessed. I suppose the book's about him and he has a right to whine as much as he'd like, but really- hearing about erectile dysfunction and lusting after a colleague? Not terribly creative.
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If there's ever anything I like in life, it's humor. Whether it's dry, moist, or any varying degree in between. Perhaps that's why I found Domestic Violets to be so refreshingly plainspoken. This book is a satire. From the very first page, it was obvious. It is a satire about everything. Life. Relationships. The boring, daily job. It also includes snippets of almost current events. If you enjoy satires as much as I do, then this book is a definite must.As much as I like this book, it was a little slow in the beginning. I feel that a good portion of the book was dedicated to establishing the setting. When I say good, it isn't in a good way either (bad writing there, but oh well, who reads these anyways?). But when the book picks up steam, it doesn't let up until you read to the back cover.[Insert witty, closing line here]*Thanks Goodreads First Reads Giveaway for a copy of this book, it will have an honorary place on my bookshelf*
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Tom Violet has a job that is slowly crushing his soul, and his marriage is not quite as easy and comfortable as it should be after so many years together. To top it off, his famous father has upped the ante by being awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Suddenly, Tom finds himself running headlong into the boredom that defines his professional life, the uncertainty that surrounds his marriage, and the jealousy that surrounds his relationship with his father. How he handles it all is the brilliance behind Matthew Norman's Domestic Violets.Tom is very much the everyman, someone who feels his or her dreams are realistic and achievable. Tom is not going through a mid-life crisis; at age 35, he is not old enough for that yet. However, his father's success forces him to reevaluate his life while he is still young enough to be able to change the trajectory of it. The success of the novel lies in Tom's ability to see the ridiculousness of his situation and his slow realization of what he needs to do about it. Tom is seeking what everyone is seeking – a chance to be happy and fulfilled – and, even if the reader does not aspire to become a published author, his struggles are just as relevant. For those who are currently caught up in the rat race that is the current business environment, Domestic Violets is wickedly funny and oh-so-timely. Mr. Norman’s satirical nod at the overuse of buzzwords, the lack of compassion from those high up on the corporate food chain, economic uncertainty and its impact on the work environment is scarily accurate, but he excels at showing the idiocy of it all. He gets what it is like to hear the same meaningless words repeatedly. He understands that companies make the wrong decisions for no reason other than because they can. He captures what it does to the human psyche when a company who earns billions of dollars each year cuts employees, benefits, or other costs, citing a need to tighten belts and conserve money. Domestic Violets is a bit like a hybrid between the movies OFFICE SPACE and AMERICAN BEAUTY except for the literary crowd. It is a must-read for those who feel the monotony of business life and are unconsciously searching for something more meaningful in life. Thank you to TLC Book Tours and of for my review copy!
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I heart Tom Violet! He is my first bookish crush. He's smart, creative, funny, and flawed - just the type of guy you want to marry and have babies with (yes, I still want to marry him in spite of that night with Katie). Tom is such a realistically drawn out character: he's struggling with his marriage; battling his arch nemesis, Gregory, at work; crushing on his assistant Katie; and dealing with the fact that his father, the famous Curtis Violet, has just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. You see, Tom wants to be a writer, too. He wants to produce something that will provide him with his own piece of glory, which is why he's bummed that no one (wife, mother, and almost agent) has read his book yet, to let him know just how awesome his writing is. Domestic Violets is a breath of fresh air - its clever, hilarious, honest and real, which makes it such a great book to read. Matthew Norman has truly hit it out of the park with his debut novel - not only has he demonstrated what a talented author he is with this cast of unforgettable characters, but he's also created this year's must read novel. I would most definitely recommend this novel to everyone! The writing is spot on and the story itself is so engaging that you can't help but find yourself so completely immersed in these character's lives that soon you are not only cheering them on to succeed, but also shedding a few tears when bad news finds them. Reading this book was such a treat, that I wish I hadn't read it in one day and instead taken my time with it so that I could prolong reaching the end. Now I can't wait for Norman's next book, because I'm sure its going to be just as brilliant as Domestic Violets was.
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I really enjoyed this book - well written, entertaining, funny. A book about authors and writing - what's not to like?
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